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It sounds like the beginning of a scientific fiction movie.

Futuristic technology is enabling sophisticated communication between devices of all shapes and sizes, transforming the way we live and work.

Kitchen appliances that can “talk” to each other, power grids and other forms of infrastructure that can be self-sustaining, and medical devices that permit more flexibility when it comes health tracking and maintenance.

These are some of the applications being brought to life thanks to breakthroughs with Internet of things (IoT) technology.

IoT allows users to operate a network of internet-connected devices built with embedded sensors that are able to collect and synthesize data for specified tasks.

Major corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, and GE developed software that serves as the bridge between the device’s sensors and the data networks needed to transmit this information, according to Business Insider.

All of these factors provided a foundation for startups and other ventures to create services that could redefine conventional industries.

R&D Magazine highlight the industries where IoT firms are testing intriguing technologies.

Agriculture

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations predicts the global population will reach 8 billion people by 2025 and 9.6 billion people by 2050.

This uptick in growth means food production would need to increase by 70 percent by 2050, especially with elements like climate change and a slow-down in productivity growth potentially hindering this goal, according to a report focused on the practice of smart farming.

All of this emphasizes how vital advancements in the agricultural IoT space have become.

A proliferation of smartphones and other devices have made it easier for farmers to keep watch of their crops in a more cost-efficient manner, as well as implement strategies for mitigating damage from pests.

This enhanced level of monitoring and data analysis is where startups in this space have started to flourish.

Ventures like Descartes Labs use a mix of satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to predict crop yields.

The company, which recently raised $30 million in a series B financing, was spun out of Los Alamos National Laboratory. It has access to a massive archive of satellite imagery sourced from NASA, the European Space Agency, and other “commercial constellations,” reported Fast Company.

Descartes proprietary program can analyze quadrillions of pixels at a time and compare it to past data emitted from sensors from farming equipment, such as combines, tractors, and cars, to determine the health of a given crop as well as identify if the field is growing corn, soy, or something similar.

Another firm called Gamaya is also able to monitor crops, but on a smaller scale.

It uses a mix of drones and artificial intelligence to assist farmers with finding ways to grow their crops in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Hyperspectral cameras mounted to drones capture images of the land that the human eye cannot see, such as shifts in water and fertilizer use, reported Fortune.

Next, the artificial intelligence software studies the images to deliver alerts and recommendations to help farmers better grow their crops or lower fertilizer use.

Both of these companies can essentially provide the agriculture industry with sophisticated tools that help increase production.

Healthcare

Popular IoT-oriented startups have been operating in the wearable space, designing devices intended for physical fitness and sleep tracking.

However, CB Insights released a report mentioning fledgling ventures working in a realm called “Clinical Efficiency.”

It’s a category of startups using connected objects to improve the delivery of healthcare in hospitals and clinics, as well as find ways to boost medication adherence.

San Diego, California-based Company Awarepoint uses a “integration real-time location system”, which is software that helps healthcare organizations track medical equipment in real time to ensure it never gets lost. It canalso perform other tasks, such as helping patients navigate new large hospital complexes through their mobile devices.

Adheretech offers a service that helps patients in another way.

It manufactures smart wireless pill bottles that use sensors and a built-in cellular chip to passively send-real time data, analyze that information, and then send automatic alerts for missed dosages on specialized medications for important conditions.

Transportation

There are widespread opportunities for IoT innovation in the transportation sector. Big car companies and other corporations are devising solutions that fall into two categories—either embedded or tethered, according to an analysis from Business Insider.   

Vehicles manufactured in the embedded category contain built-in antenna and chipsets designed to collect information, while cars with tethered connections use hardware to let drivers connect to their smartphones.

Other areas of innovation in this space include better app integration where more sophisticated software can replace built-in GPS systems. wApplications like GasBuddy provide a better overview of where customers can find the cheapest fuel in the surrounding area.

Commercial vehicles will have plenty of new connected features for drivers, but certain startups are focusing their efforts more on connected trucking fleets.

Ventures like Vnomics design software systems for commercial trucking fleets for better fuel optimization. The program offers real-time monitoring for fuel usage from multiple sensors, analyzes engine data to determine potential maximum achievable fuel efficiency, as well as offer audio alerts for improper shifting and idling with the goal of producing a detailed driver scorecard for owners to ascertain how they are managing their fuel supply.  

Greenroad Technology offers similar software solutions. The company’s platform can be installed a fleet of delivery trucks or similar cars where sensors can track driver behavior and road conditions. Analyzing all this information let’s owners of these fleets recognize areas where they need improvement in terms of fuel usage or insurance purposes. 

Ultimately, both of these companies are using a unique combination of sensors and software to create a safer driving environment.

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